(a) Students who attend a charter school located in their school district of residence, a regional charter school of which the school district is a part or a charter school located outside district boundaries at a distance not exceeding ten (10) miles by the nearest public highway shall be provided free transportation to the charter school by their school district of residence on such dates and periods that the charter school is in regular session whether or not transportation is provided on such dates and periods to students attending schools of the district. Transportation is not required for elementary students, including kindergarten students, residing within one and one-half (1.5) miles or for secondary students residing within two (2) miles of the nearest public highway from the charter school in which the students are enrolled unless the road or traffic conditions are such that walking constitutes a hazard to the safety of the students when so certified by the Department of Transportation, except that if the school district provides transportation to the public schools of the school district for elementary students, including kindergarten students, residing within one and one-half (1.5) miles or for secondary students residing within two (2) miles of the nearest public highway under nonhazardous conditions, transportation shall also be provided to charter schools under the same conditions. Districts providing transportation to a charter school outside the district and, for the 2007-2008 school year and each school year thereafter, districts providing transportation to a charter school within the district shall be eligible for payments under section 2509.3 1 for each public school student transported.
(a.1) In addition to any other requirements in this section, school districts of the first class shall provide transportation to students who attend a charter school if they are the same age or are enrolled in the same grade, grades or their grade equivalents as any of the students of the school district for whom transportation is provided under any program or policy to the schools of the school district.
(b) In the event that the Secretary of Education determines that a school district is not providing the required transportation to students to the charter school, the Department of Education shall pay directly to the charter school funds for costs incurred in the transportation of its students. Payments to a charter school shall be determined in the following manner: for each eligible student transported, the charter school shall receive a payment equal to the total expenditures for transportation of the school district divided by the total number of school students transported by the school district under any program or policy.
(c) The department shall deduct the amount paid to the charter school under subsection (b) from any and all payments made to the district.
(d) A school district of the first class shall submit a copy of its current transportation policy to the department no later than August 1 of each year.
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